The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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Top, Bottom, Inside, Outside

Posted on February 26, 2014

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”  So said perhaps the pivotal voice on cities, Jane Jacobs, in her, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I rather prefer Italo Calvino’s observation that, “You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” At present, millions of us entertain questions about the places in which we live.  They can be as great as, “Will our city continue to prosper?” to, “When will they plow my street?”  Cities, overall, represent a vast array of intersections between individual and collective designs and pursuits.  Cities are great, but they are remarkably complex…

The Genius of Naheed Nenshi

Posted on February 19, 2014

On March 1st, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi will address the X Conference at London’s Convention Centre.  Find out more at www.londonx.ca ‘WHEN THE BURDENS OF THE PRESIDENCY seems unusually heavy,” said President Lyndon Johnson, “I always remind myself it could be worse.  I could be mayor.”  There’s much truth in that statement when we consider that mayors end up at the end of long line of designs promoted by more senior level politicians and larger jurisdictions.  The tools needed to do an effective job at leading a municipality are often owned or manipulated by others with their own political goals. Yet occasionally a mayor comes on the scene who teaches us we can do more than we think within our local confines.  Despite all…

Enough Already

Posted on February 12, 2014

‘GREAT THINGS ARE NOT ACCOMPLISHED BY THOSE who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”  So said American poet Jack Kerouac.  I wonder what he’d think of the latest trend of taking selfies in front of homeless people.  Never mind; we already know.  He’d be disgusted.  Fortunately, he would also be angered, and in such a state would want to do something about it.  In Europe, America and now Canada, it’s become the big thing – find someone down and out, living on the streets, take a selfie of yourself in front of the person on your cellphone, and then broadcast it out to all your friends.  I know, it’s stupid and insensitive.  But more than that, it speaks to just what we…

Slap-In-The-Face Democracy

Posted on February 11, 2014

  LAST WEEK I WROTE a Huffington Post piece on the new electoral reform legislation rammed through the House of Commons in Ottawa and how it undercut the very kind of democratic reform people say they seek.  Many of those responding stated that this is the kind of political manipulation that turns them off of politics altogether and then closed by saying they wouldn’t be voting in the next election – something which, ironically, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, noted when he publicly stated that such legislation could result in “persistent and declining voter turnout.” Countering Mayrand’s warning, Minister Pierre Poilievre said he believed that it was political candidates that would drive up voter turnout, not some government department.  The problem with that,…

I Write Because …

Posted on February 4, 2014

I NEVER LIKED THE IDEA OF BLOGGING in the beginning.  There were just so many bloggers with opinions – refined, helpful, angry, vengeful, eloquent, hate-filled, noble, empty – that I just wanted to live my life purposefully and leave the words to others. I turns out I was wrong.  I was an MP at the time and my staff said they thought my ideas for humanizing politics might help the overall political structure.  It turns out that blogging actually saved me.  It’s tough to find an audience for political respect and honour in Parliament when it’s a 24-hour contest.  But I soon learned that the real audience was out in the country, not in Ottawa.  People were desiring more, something meaningful and hopefully effective. …

  

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